Sunday Roast #weeklyfoodnews

In light of all the fantastic information and innovation emerging on the topic of sustainable food and agriculture, I thought I should start up a ‘Sunday Roast’ series. This Sunday Roast is not your typical ‘meat and two veg’ meal. Instead, it consists of five different courses: a recipe, blog, academic journal, news article and an inspirational piece all on the topics of food, sustainability and agriculture.

So, sit down, unbutton those jeans and tuck in to your Sunday Roast. If you’re feeling extra greedy and have a specific article suggestion or additional theme, please comment!

Recipe

I can almost see the heads of my family and friends being thrown back. After writing 12,000 words on millet diversity for my MA and nearly killing my friend with some inedible millet chapattis, why oh why return to the millet obsession? But, after a year out, I couldn’t stay away any longer… Millet’s back and better than ever.
Move over quinoa: as a gluten free and protein-rich alternative to rice and wheat, millet is predicted to be a food trend of 2015. These millet cakes can be vegan if no egg is added as a binder, and can be either baked or fried. They are also high in iron, potassium and calcium.
This recipe is from the food blog Love and Lemons, originally written in The Complete American Cookbook. I have converted cups to grams as best as I can:
Ingredients:
  • 128g millet (usually pearl or finger millet)
  • 250g water
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp vegetable/olive oil
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 770g baby spinach (roughly chopped)
  • 2 carrots (washed, shredded)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 30g plain yoghurt (or 40ml almond milk)
  • 1 large egg (optional if vegan)
  • 2 tbsp minced coriander (you can use the stalks!)
Instructions:
  • Line baking sheet with baking paper
  • Combine millet, water and 1/2 tsp of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low once simmering and cover until grains are tender and liquid is absorbed. This should be approx 20 min.
  • Take off heat and let the millet sit (like with cous cous) for 10 minutes
  • Transfer to large bowl
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan and cook the shallots until translucent and softened.
  • Stir in the spinach, carrots and cook until the spinach is wilted. Approx 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic, curry powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Transfer to the bowl with the millet.
  • Stir the yoghurt, egg (optional) and coriander into the mixture until combined.
  • Divide into 8 equal portions and create compact cakes. Place onto the baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
  • Heat oven to 100 degrees C.
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the cakes until a deep golden brown (make sure the oil has heated up first before putting them on). This should take 10-15 minutes, turning half way through. You can bake/grill in the oven instead at approx 180 C, keep an eye on them!
  • Transfer cakes back onto the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until served.
Millet is a neutral tasting grain. Love and Lemons’ blog uses chilli flakes and lemon, but you could also add spices such as cumin and coriander to give a South Asian theme, or some harissa paste and smoked paprika for a more Moroccan feel!
Source: Love and Lemons

Blog

The Thinking Kitchen by Annie Zimmerman 
Check out this fantastic blog by Annie Zimmerman, a Masters student at Oxford University. I have already written about Annie: she is the lovely lady who wrote me a letter when my blog was hacked, and I thought I should continue saying thank you by promoting her inspirational words and work.
The Thinking Kitchen adopts a unique approach to food blogging: it focuses on the psychology behind food. How and what we consume is intimately connected to how and what we think and feel. I for one cannot emphasise how important this is: having had control issues with food in the past, linked to stress and trauma, it is imperative to understand the links between emotions/psychology and our relationship with food. After all, it’s not called your ‘gut feeling’ for nothing…
Annie advocates healthy and nutritious eating for a healthy mindset, combining ‘clean’ ingredients into delicious meals to help boost our moods and bodily health. Oh, and she has fantastic photos too – the sign of a great food blog 🙂
Annie’s banana bread: good for your body and mind
Source: The Thinking Kitchen

Journal

This article is from late 2014 but it is a must-read. The authors study Mediterranean, pescetarian and vegetarian diets and their impacts on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes. The conclusion?

“Figures showing the relative impacts of the Mediterranean, vegetarian and pescetarian diets in terms of per capita GHG emissions, global GHG emissions, contribution to changes in cropland, and changes in cropland reduction find these dietary types have much lower impacts than business as usual dietary patterns” (Source: FCRN)

Impact of our diets (business as usual = income dependent 2050) on health and environment. Source: FCRN

‘Business as usual’ dietary patterns mean high meat, dairy and processed food consumption (i.e. a Western, mainly UK/US diet). The study comes at a crucial time: we have the power to choose what we eat, and this article shows just how pivotal this choice is in determining our future environment, economy and bodies. This food should be cheaper than processed food, and if we lobby by voting with our forks, we can easily help to change this price dynamic.

Let’s move towards a ‘business as unusual’ food system, one bite at a time!

News

The dichotomy between ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ foods is more blurred than ever before. In the era of diet fads, we have created a system that allows for the injection of entirely unnatural chemicals and additives into our food products, all in the name of ‘health’.
This article explores this growing wave of health conscious consumerism and questions just how healthy our daily loaf of bread and fruit salad really is. While the horse meat scandal was one acute example of how the food industry can hide information from consumers, this is a chronic and perhaps even more harmful example. Many of the chemicals and artificial ingredients in our ‘health’ foods are toxic in high quantities, and even if present can be legally removed from ingredients lists if they are in small doses. But, those small doses add up, especially if the consumer believes it is nutritious and should be eaten frequently.
The article is lengthy, so get a cup of tea. If you don’t have time, the quote below sums it up quite nicely…
Source: pegitboard.com

Inspiration

(Video) American Kids Trying Breakfasts From Around The World by Mind Body Green

Whether on a global level or at the family dinner table, food is something that brings people together like nothing else. However, as Western diets sweep the globe, it is important to cherish the gastronomic heritage of other geographies: the culture, environments, religions, communities and families all intertwined in this.

This video is fantastic. It shows American kids trying different breakfasts from around the world. Their emotive reactions to the various meals are hilarious but also thought-provoking: perhaps we also need to abandon our prerequisite comfort zones surrounding breakfast food and explore the deliciously vast range of foods out there.

Having eaten South Indian idli and samba for breakfast for the past few weeks, I can honestly say that mixing up your breakfast transforms the rest of your day: you’re more willing to try new foods, appreciate their new tastes, textures and aromas. I will be honest though: still nothing beats Marmite on toast…

My South Indian breakfast

Until next Sunday, enjoy!

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